African Union to launch new campaign against Kony and LRA
The African Union will launch a new military campaign against Lord's Resistance Army bases in the Central African Republic (CAR), officials announced on Friday, dpa reported.
The new force will have some 5,000 members, including soldiers and humanitarian officials.
The soldiers will be drawn from the African countries who have been directly affected by the LRA, including Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and CAR.
As part of the new mission, humanitarian assistance, especially food aid, would also be given to civilians affected by the LRA.
While LRA leader Joseph Kony began his rebellion in the 1980s in Uganda, he has been ousted from the country and is now believed to be in CAR, with some fighters still based in the northern DR Congo.
The rebels tend to pillage, abduct children and employ a scorched earth policy whenever they go.
"The force will undergo rigorous training and will live in the bushes to track down Kony. They will use tricks that will help the fight (against) the enemy and will be involved in serious intelligence gathering," Abou Moussa, the UN's top official in CAR, told reporters.
Moussa made the announcement about the new force after meeting Francisco Madeira, the AU special envoy for the LRA issue, in the Ugandan city of Entebbe. He said the new military operation against the LRA will be funded by the US and the European Union.
UN and AU officials told a press briefing that the formal launch of the new force would take place in Juba on Saturday, as it will be headquartered in South Sudan, where the LRA militia once roamed, causing death and destruction.
Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court on more than 30 charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Until now, Uganda has led the fight against the LRA. Last year, the US announced 100 military advisors would join the battle.
Kony was the subject of a recent viral video by the US-based group Invisible Children.
The video has been criticized for factual inaccuracies and the group has been accused of having a paternalistic attitude to Africans. But the campaign did manage to bring heightened international attention to the brutal LRA and its leader.